By Lucas Henshaw:
You curse Nigeria under your breath as you straddle all your problems in your backpack— all your problems being your malaria drugs, your ATM card that almost never works due to your shitty bank’s services, your laptop that always seems to stop working when you have a job to submit—on your septuagenarian spine and wonder why a youth like you has such an old spine.
The pretty POS girl tries to flirt but you don’t recognize that language, you’re carefully counting the zeros you’re inputting in your Opay app so you don’t pull a Femi Olukoya, you can’t even afford to but still you count carefully, as you mindlessly answer the pretty girl “yeah, it’s me again.”
Under your breath you go, “after I send this I’ll have 3,000 left, do I send it?” The girl is asking about your hair and you realize about two minutes after she asked the question.
“Oh yeah it’s my real hair,” you reply uninterested and pray she doesn’t try to touch it, you hate that.
You finish your transaction and wish she would stop trying to flirt, when another girl waves from across the road, you think to yourself, I don’t know you please stop this is awkward.
Then she crosses the road and comes over, you realize it’s a friend, she looks almost unrecognizable so you feel less guilty about not waving back.
“How are you”s are exchanged in a hurry like lovers in the Hollywood films bursting into the room kissing and tearing off each other’s clothes on a table.
She goes “you first, let me not tell you my own,” you decide telling her about the problems in your backpack is not such a good idea, you doubt her spine is as strong as yours, you prod her to go first, she tells you her predicaments that’s when you realize she looks different because she’s been crying. She lost her mother.
Grief makes you uneasy, it’s like a thousand Assegais stabbing at you simultaneously, even if the grief is not yours to bear.
You turn to the road and start moving, she offers to accompany you as she tells you you look different.
“You’re darker and have lost some weight,” you laugh in “I’ve been going through a lot, but have the stage.”
You accept her offer to accompany you. Misery does in fact love company. Like Lamar said we are United in Grief.
If you doubt this, next time you’re in a bus full of strangers, just heave a deep sigh and say, “this kind country sef,” relax and wait.